It is seldom that a restaurant is as universally praised, so quickly after opening, as Lazy Bear is. Articles and blogs alike shower Lazy Bear with positive comments about the amazing and innovative dishes and an overall fantastic communal dining experience. Scoring a seat, especially on a weekend, can be a challenge – but having finally done so we were absolutely stoked to check out the most hyped up place in the city.
Before jumping into the meal itself, there are a few details of the dining experience worth touching on first.
- Ticketing: Lazy Bear doesn’t take “reservations,” but instead sells tickets for their two nightly seatings (6 & 815) that currently run at $120 per person on top of which tax and service is added. Optional beverage pairings can be added at this point, or at later at the dinner. Tickets go on sale in the middle of a month, for all dates in the following month – weekends get gobbled up within hours, so act fast.
- Communal Tables: Lazy Bear’s main dining area consists of two long communal tables at which everyone is assigned a seat. The lucky ones get awesome neighbors to share the experience with. We were the lucky ones this evening.
- Open Kitchen: Lazy Bear encourages the guests to walk up to the edge of the kitchen, check out the preparation work, and take pictures of the in process courses as they are being plated.
- A Field Guide to Lazy Bear: For each meal, Lazy Bear prints out a guide to the dinner with a page dedicated to each course. There are blank lines and pencils provided to take tasting notes, comment on ingredients, or just draw dirty pictures.
- Course Announcements: Each course is served to all diners at the same time and as that is happening, one of the chef’s takes center stage and bellows out a lengthy and detailed description of all the ingredients used, where they came from, some of the cooking techniques, and generally provides more information that you will ever need to know.
So with that lengthy preamble, time to get to the main show.
The first four courses are served in the mezzanine level of the space, a small, cozy, hunting lodge feeling area with some couches, big chairs, and standing tables. For those in the 815 reservation, you can observe the tail end of the earlier groups dinner.
From up here, the first four dishes are served and a la carte beverages can be ordered as well.
Tequila, Grapefruit, Citrus
Things started off with a little tart tequila based punch. I am sure I am being really innovative when I say it had hints of a margarita.
Whipped Scrambled Eggs
Bacon, Maple, Hot Sauce
The egg fluffy was bacon infused and incredibly airy. The hot sauce lurking on the bottom added a kick like a southern breakfast.
Citrus Kosho Froth
Buried underneath the froth was an oyster, a rather ocean-y one that was a little salty for my tastes.
Duck Liver Mouse, Marmalade
Duck Confit Hushpuppy, Black Lime
Duck Rillete, Quince Fruit Roll-Up
Duck Slim Jim, Sour Cream, Herbs
Withheld the urge to say “snap into a slim jim” ….. until now that is.
Bone Marrow and Cheedar Fondue
Crudites (celery, carrot, turnip)
We ran out of stalks to use to transport the creamy deliciousness to our face.
The Main Dining Area
At this point, each party was collected individually on the mezzanine and escorted down to the assigned seats. We got lucky and were at the end of the table, right near the kitchen.
At this point, the quasi-famous Lazy Bear field guide is waiting.
Brown Butter Brioche
Butter, butter, butter. Butter in the bread, butter in the butter, which thanks to being made from a 2 year old and going strong culture, had a cheesy flavor. Both were hardish on the edge and soft in the middle. I used all my butter, Minako didn’t so I just picked it up and ate it straight.
Shellfish, Garden Herbs
This dish was touted as the “bright spot in a winter garden” and consisted of three types of sorrels, including one foraged from Golden Gate Park earlier in the day. The black cyclone is a snail, raised in Napa. Crisp, Earthy.
XO Butter, Tokyo Turnip, Chamomile
The lobster was from Maine and included some claw meat and some tail meat. The XO sauce was made with some Tennessee ham, dehydrated scallops and a litany of other ingredients that were rattled off faster than I could write them down. The brown dollop is lobster oil.
Charred Onion Broth
Smoked Ham, Egg Yolk, Apple, Scallion
The egg seemed to have cooked in the hot broth as it was poured over. The broth is a ham lovers paradise, bold ham front flavor (almost BBQ-y) with a hint of onion.
Pear, Shallot, Foie Gras
The squab (on the right) breast, seared and dusted in winter spices, came out red and tender. The sauce is a “squab bone sauce.” The foie gras, recently reinstated as serve-able in California, was soft as butter and mouthwatering.
Citrus, Green Peppercorn, Fish Sauce
The “wagyu” was actually from Texas (making it Tex-Gyu?) but was nicely marbled. The peppercorn sauce had a thai green curry taste. I repeat: mouthwatering.
The steak knife was also unique. In keeping with the hunting theme, each was made from a different part of an antler.
Charteuse, Kaffier Lime, Guave, Buttermilk
Here begins the dessert portion of the meal. The kiwi was presented at least three different ways and was sweet and cool.
Brown Butter, Walnut, Cinnamon
Hard to believe that everything on this plate is mushroom based, but its true. The overall flavor was maple syrupy.
The night was capped off with a set of five sweet bites.
The macaroon was spicy, amazingly so. The heat lingered for a little. Not in a bad way.
The smores looking thing in at the bottom was kneebuckling good.
And thus ends our night at Lazy Bear. As the crowd wrapped up, paid, and left the chef walked around and chatted with those who lingered. When asked how often the menu has a significant change, he said “monthly.” I responded that we will have to come back every month. I was only half joking.